New apostolic environment
Apostles are for today, that argument has been pretty much won. But we are still in discovery mode as to their nature and their true impact. God is releasing fresh insight on raising up people who display this gift in larger measure.
Jesus had 12 apostles, so here’s my 12 points, seeking to describe the apostolic ministry God is raising up in our generation, and the environment it creates.
1) Impartation of Shalom Matt 10;7-14 – Jesus 1st commissions the 12 and calls them apostles. One of their tasks is to impart peace (Old testament word would be ‘shalom’ - the wellbeing of God). Apostles exercise atmosphere changing ability that can be felt, they impart the well being of God in a way that changes the ‘feel’ of a place.
2) They have power not just words. Paul’s test of the ‘false apostles’ bothering Corinth was not ‘how good do they preach’ but ‘do they have any power?’. They heal the sick and cast out demons. 1Cor 4;19 and 2Cor 12;12
3) They have significant angelic assistance – writing letters to the angels of churches is not common practice in western Christianity. Its clear Peter had an Angel. When they speak with heavenly authority angelic forces are released.( Rev 2;1). Like Elisha, apostles and prophets know that there are more with us than with the enemy.
4) Apostolic fathers are the senior level fathers in the church. They are mercy hearted, non judgemental, generous, empowering of others, not afraid of immaturity; they believe the best and therefore create an atmosphere of freedom, risk taking, creativity and invention. 1 Cor 4;15
5) They have a message of the kingdom (Acts 2;42 Matt 10;7-14) Their doctrine is of the manifestation of the kingdom now. They connect the church to her identity and purpose in their generation. Rooted in the power of the cross and resurrection, they do not allow the church to be moulded by the culture around it, but to trust the culture shaping message it has been given.
6) Apostles are pre-occupied with heaven and His face, not the needs of the earthly church – In Acts 6 they refuse to get entangled in the detail of care for the church. In Acts 3;6 Peter and John are more aware of what they have from heaven than the size of the miracle needed. Paul, a man of heavenly experiences taught us to ‘set our minds on things above’ (Col 3;2) and to be aware our battle was against spiritual forces of wickedness in heavenly realms.
7) Apostles connect to prophets . Apostles can build healthy relationships with prophets. They allow them to affect the DNA of the church or movement, not just to prophecy. Any movement is in trouble when prophets are quiet or not to be found. (Eph 2;20)
8) Apostles have letter churches. 2 Cor 3;2
They have a church, or churches that demonstrate and successfully lives out the revelation they carry.
9) Eph 2;20-22 Apostles and prophets found a building (church structure) suitable for presence. Heaven is centred around God and His presence and is worship occupied. They are looking for that to be reproduced on earth.
The apostolic culture has an atmosphere of worship that attracts the manifest presence of God, within which transformation can take place – heaven’s government touches earth in praise! Ps 22;3 esv
The apostolic culture has an atmosphere of prayer that pulls the will of God to earth.
10) 1John 3;18. The apostolic culture is an atmosphere of love and deep heart connection that survives personal failings and disagreement and where we serve one another.
11) Apostles teach the Bible rooted in deep revelatory encounters with the Spirit. Eph 3;3 ‘how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly’.
12) Apostles have a heavenly blue print – (1 Cor 3;10) they have a sight, a sound, a feeling; an instinct for the architecture of the church on earth so it reflects the Father’s heart and Heavens atmosphere. They have the flavour of the government of heaven in their very souls.
Apostles can see how to build family and not hierarchy how to have cohesion without top down government. They don’t look at earthly models for clues but see into heavenly places.
Apostles know that only the presence of the Holy Spirit can produce freedom, unity and diversity all at the same time. And so labour that all are immersed experientially in the Spirit
I believe the raising up of apostolic people is key to both the welcoming of a new revival and sustaining it as it is poured out. I believe that apostles are supposed to be the senior spiritual authority in a city and that is why in Acts they are accused of being those ‘who turned the world upside down’.